On 23 August 2017, the Chief Minister of Telangana announced a statewide survey of land and land records with the aim of ‘purifying’ them. Work under the Telangana Land Records Updation Project (LRUP) was to be divided across two phases, in order to cover rural and then urban areas. The first phase— ‘Rythu Vari Bhu Survey’, as it was christened— began in September and December 2017. Its purpose was to update existing revenue records (specifically the pahanii and the ROR 1Bii) to reflect ground realities in rural Telangana (Revenue Department Government of Telangana, 2017, p. 1) . Unlike regular revenue surveys, the exercise was restricted to the updating of textual (and not spatial) records. The reason behind the survey’s limited focus was that its outcomes were meant to primarily facilitate the roll-out of the Telangana Chief Minister’s ambitious ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme—an investment support scheme for farmers of the state. Each land-owning farmer is to receive ₹4,000 per acre during each sowing season, altogether receiving ₹8,000 per acre in a year (Janyala, iv 2018) . It was therefore crucial for the government to ascertain the rightful owners of the land in order to fulfil the promise of this support scheme.
This brief looks at how the Rythu Vari Bhu survey can be improved to increase its effectivity across the state of Telangana.